Barbara Santee archive of Oklahoma women’s reproductive rights and ancillary materials

That’s quite a title for a blog post, but we’re happy to announce that the Barbara Santee collection of reproductive rights materials is now fully processed and accessible to interested researchers!

Reproductive rights activist Barbara Santee at the Oklahoma Capitol with her reproductive rights button collection, as displayed on a mannequin. Some of her buttons are seen here.

The Santee collection comprises 61 boxes within several distinct records series:

  • Series 1 is made up of personal papers, including correspondence and her creative works. Santee wrote extensive memoirs and even a couple of plays.
  • Series 2 is professional writings such as essays and newspaper columns. Santee wrote prolifically for Oklahoma-based news organizations.
  • Series 3 is paperwork related to hundreds of organizations. This includes both the pro-choice groups she helped to run, as well as pro-life groups that she included in her research and opinion pieces.
  • Series 4 are the papers from the Reproductive Services clinic here in Tulsa. Sherri Finik was the director of the clinic during the 1980s and 1990s, and this is a distinct series showing the day-to-day operations and unique challenges that a clinic faced. There is quite a bit of hate mail and information related to bombings and acid attacks.
  • Series 5 is Santee’s research. She wrote about reproductive rights, but did a lot of academic work on population control and statistics. Quite a few of these papers are scholarly medical works.
  • Series 6 are artifacts such as Santee’s photo albums, her button collection, and her audio and video collections. Some of the videos are home-made recordings of anti-abortion protesters outside of Reproductive Services. We’ve digitized those and several PSAs put together by Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

Santee’s papers also included information on the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, which she studied and wrote about, and those papers will be included in our Race Riot archive.

This collection also came to Special Collections with many books and periodicals, which are being cataloged.

Special Collections welcomes researchers interested in this collection and our many others. If you’d like to view any of our collections, we are open to the public Monday to Friday, 8am to 4:30pm. Please contact us at for information on how to schedule an appointment and gain access to the materials we house.

About Melissa Kunz

Melissa Kunz is a Special Collections Librarian. She holds a Masters in Library and Information Studies and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hendrix College in Arkansas.
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